Film Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Written and Directed by Wes Anderson

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinson, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, Ed Norton, F. Murray Abraham, and on and on.

I should state at the outset I am not a Wes Anderson fan. I liked MOONRISE KINGDOM quite a bit but despite seeing every one of his movies, I have seldom been enamored of them. They almost always seem airless, all the characters cut of the same relentlessly twee cloth, too much about auteur theory and not enough about a story, too anxious to be liked by a select group. Looking at the reviews, I am in the minority here. Most people buy into Anderson’s world. I wish I could.

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL was no exception, and it also raised my claustrophobia quotient to new heights. Every scene seemed shot through a telescope and focused as narrowly as possible. Some might call this style, but I call it a needlessly quirky approach. What do all these narrow hallways and rooms add to the film?

The movie is set during the Nazi regime in central Europe, but is too careful to label it that. The story is about M. Gustave (Fiennes), a legendary hotel concierge and lover, who is left a valuable painting by an aged woman (Swinton) he seduced. No sooner has the will been read than the woman’s son (Adrian Brody) and her daughters have him arrested. The chase is on and Gustave, with the help of his lobby boy, Zero (Revolori) make a run for it. The rest of the film provides cameos for all of the Anderson regulars and not a lot else for me.

You probably know if this is a film you will enjoy. I certainly recommend it to Anderson fans.


Patti Abbott